North’s satellite claims ‘incomplete’: UN agency

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North’s satellite claims ‘incomplete’: UN agency

A spokesman for the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) confirmed Wednesday that North Korea had provided the organization with information about its plans to launch an Earth observation satellite, going on to describe the data as “incomplete.”

Sanjay Acharya, spokesman for the ITU, told the JoongAng Ilbo on Wednesday that the United Nations agency could not confirm if North Korea was planning to launch a peaceful satellite based off the information Pyongyang provided.

“For us, this information is very, very incomplete,” he said.

The ITU was just one of the international organizations Pyongyang notified on Tuesday of its alleged plans to conduct what it called the launch of an Earth observation satellite between Feb. 8 and 25. The alert was interpreted as a pretense for its testing of a long-range ballistic missile.

“We would be asking the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to provide the missing information before we can publish and record the frequency assignments of the network and the ITU Master International Frequency Register (MIFR),” Acharya continued.

The ITU records registered satellite frequency assignments in the Master International Frequency Register, an international satellite database, in accordance with the organization’s Radio Regulations, an international treaty that manages radio-communication services across countries.

The 193-member specialized UN agency deals with information and communication technologies and helps to ensure there are no cross-satellite interferences.

South Korea joined the 150-year-old organization in 1952, while North Korea joined the ITU in 1975.

Pyongyang sent its notification via Kim Kwang-chol, the minister of posts and telecommunications, through its mission in Geneva, according to Acharya. It said it plans to launch an earth observation satellite with a functional duration of four years in a non-geostationary orbit. Usually, countries inform the ITU two months in advance before launching a satellite.

When asked if it was a peaceful satellite, Acharya said the ITU would not be able to confirm without further details from North Korea. Such additional data includes the anticipated position of the satellite, details on its planned orbit and radio frequency.

Acharya said the ITU has not yet received the additional information it has requested from Pyongyang, which said it would launch a Kwangmyongsong satellite.

North Korea also notified the ITU of its plans to launch a satellite in December 2012. Pyongyang claimed it successfully launched a long-range rocket on Dec. 12, 2012, that put the Kwangmyongsong-3 Unit-2 Earth observation satellite into orbit.

Seoul, Washington and the international community condemned the lift-off as a violation of UN resolutions that ban the Communist state from testing ballistic missile technology.

BY CHUN SU-JIN, SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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